The North-South All-Star Basketball Classic is more than a last chance for Charleston Catholic All-Staters Aiden Satterfield and Zion Suddeth to play one final game together. It’s actually a reunion of sorts for the Irish duo.
Satterfield and Suddeth suit up for the South squad in Friday’s 7:30 p.m. North-South contest at the South Charleston Community Center, but two of their South teammates will also be old friends and past AAU teammates — Alex Yoakum of George Washington and William Gabbert of Greenbrier East, who played his first three varsity seasons at GW before his family moved to Greenbrier County.
Suddeth was ecstatic to learn he’ll be surrounded by friends for his final high school basketball game.
“It’s going to be fun to be teammates with [Satterfield] one last time,’’ Suddeth said, “but I’m also looking forward to playing again with Alex and William. We’ve been on the same AAU teams and we’ve played with each other 100,000 times. When we saw the lineups and we saw we were all playing together, we knew it was going to be a good time.’’
Satterfield, who averaged 21.4 points as a senior, led the Irish to the Class AA state tournament semifinals in May. He and Suddeth have been teammates since the fifth grade, so the North-South game serves as a bit of a going-away present for them.
“It’ll be really fun,’’ Satterfield said, “but also a little bittersweet. I’m proud of ‘Z,’ and I think he’s proud of me. We get to go one last time, so hopefully it’s as much fun as possible because we won’t have this experience again, being together one last time.’’
Their paths will definitely diverge following Friday’s North-South game, even though they’re both bound for Mountain East Conference programs — Satterfield to West Liberty and Suddeth to Wheeling, West Liberty’s Northern Panhandle rival. On top of that, old buddies Yoakum (Fairmont State) and Gabbert (Wheeling) will also be joining MEC teams.
Those four will join a South squad that features all sorts of firepower, including four Class AAAA first-team All-Staters in Yoakum, Gabbert, Mason Pinkett (GW) and Ben Gilliam (Woodrow Wilson). Satterfield and Suddeth were first-teamers in AA, and South teammates Caleb May (Tug Valley) and Kaiden Pack (Greenbrier West) were on the Class A first team.
The North squad boasts of the two players who finished second and third in the state player of the year voting behind Poca junior Isaac McKneely — Bryson Lucas (Robert C. Byrd) and Jaelin Johnson (Fairmont Senior). Lucas averaged 17.2 points and 10.5 rebounds as a senior, while Johnson’s respective averages were 23.1 and 8.6.
Lucas and Johnson were both Class AAA first-team selections, and they’ll be playing alongside two first-teamers from AA in Brayden Miller of Roane County and Sam Cremeans of state champion Williamstown.
Serving as North coaches are Scott Sauro (Williamstown) and Ryan Lambert (Pendleton County). Coaching the South are Bryan England (St. Albans) and Jared Robertson (Greenbrier West).
The event, which is sponsored by the West Virginia Athletic Directors Association, begins at 6 p.m. with skills competitions — free throws, 3-pointers and slam dunks. Admission is $5 for everyone.